Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm, Founders Fund, has a portfolio that includes many of the tech giants that shape our world, including Facebook, Airbnb, Lyft, Spotify, SpaceX, and Postmates. But this week, in a strange twist, Founders Fund led a $4 million investment in a women’s fashion label, Argent.
The brand, co-founded by Sali Christeson in 2017, is a direct-to-consumer workwear startup. Argent was born in the Bay Area, and fulfilled a very specific need in the market, catering to female professionals who are looking for practical office attire that looks polished, but not overly formal or feminine.
Christeson, who came from the tech industry, was aware of all the challenges that women face in male-dominated industries. She wanted to create clothes that eliminated some of the everyday hassles she saw in women’s workwear, like clothes that were too tight or that didn’t have functional pockets. Since the brand launched, female professionals in San Francisco and New York have flocked to it, scooping up the brand’s suits, dresses, and blazers equipped with see-through iPhone pockets and key card pockets. Hillary Clinton was an early fan of the outfits, as was Kamala Harris.
Argent has been creative in its retail and branding strategy. It partnered with WeWork to create pop-ups, for the women who use the co-working space. It often hosts networking and career development workshops for these women, in an effort to create a vibrant community for them. And the brand has an edgy, slightly subversive aesthetic. One image on the website features two women in suits with Post-its on their foreheads with the words “aggressive” and “bossy” scribbled on them, as a way to push back against stereotypes of working women.
Founders Fund appears to be drawn to Argent because of its target consumers, who tend to be rooted in tech. But the fund also seems to be slowly expanding its consumer brand portfolio. It recently invested in Ritual, a supplement brand, and Year & Day, a tableware brand.